Just before school started, the girl was told she could no longer attend the school where she had gone for both preschool and summer school. Her mothers were called into the school to meet with the pastor. After a prayer, they were told she was no longer welcome.
“It was heartbreaking,” one of her mothers, Sheena, said. “I didn’t finish the conversation with them when they took us in the room because I just, I didn’t want to look at them any longer. I just couldn’t believe that they did that.”
Sheena, a stay-at-home mom and her wife Lashaune, who is in the Navy and is now away on deployment, are looking for an attorney to file a civil rights lawsuit against Mt. Erie.
“If we knew from the beginning that this was unacceptable, they didn’t condone or believe in this, if it was such a big deal, we would have never started her off there,” Sheena said. “I would never put my child’s emotional well-being in an unstable setting like that.”
When asked if it was discrimination to exclude the child from school because of her lesbian parents, a woman who calls herself “Kailyn” and described herself as the director of Mt. Erie said, “The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. We don’t condone any sinful lifestyles.”
A passage from the Mt. Erie Christian Academy handbook reads: “The school reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant or to discontinue enrollment of a student. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, living in, condoning or supporting sexual immorality; practicing homosexual lifestyle or alternative gender identity; promoting such practices; or otherwise having the inability to support the moral principles of the school.”
Because the school is a private, religious institution, attorney Eugene Iredale said that they are allowed to ban students because of their parents’ sexual orientation.
Still, many disagree with the practice.
“The least Christian thing I could think of is turning away a child,” Rev. MacArthur Flournoy of the Religion and Faith Program at the Human Rights Campaign said. “The message this school is sending to this child is that God is not there for her nor for her parents. There’s absolutely nothing Godly in their actions.”
Director of the HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program, Johanna Eager, worries that this will damage not only the student, but others as well.
“Families are a focal point for learning in elementary school,” Eager said. “There is no doubt substantial harm is done to schools, children, teachers and families when a school tells a student that something is wrong with them or their family.”